The 2019 budget estimates has created a new ministry for children, women and social protection though the institution is yet to exist in law and practice.
The National Assembly member for Banjul North constituency has urged the Gambia Government to cancel the fishing agreement with Senegal and the impending one with the European Union.
During a debate on the 2019 drafts budget estimates, Ousman Sillah said the fishing agreements are not serving the interest of the Gambia.
“We need to consider purchasing fishing trawlers for the young people… And these fishing agreements with Senegal and European Union… should be cancelled. It is not serving our interest,” said Sillah.
Gambia has signed a fishing agreement with neighbouring Senegal to allow their fishing trawlers to fish in the country’s waters.
About three months ago, the EU has also announced an agreement with the Gambia to allow their trawlers fish over 4000 tonnes from the country’s waters.
The lawmakers commenced the debate on the D25 billion drafts estimates on Monday.
The drafts estimates contains a 50% salary increment for civil servants. This mean that President Adama Barrow’s salary will increase from D170, 000 to D220, 000 a month.
Lawmakers have expressed worry over the sustainability of the wage bill which is rising from about D3 billion to over D4 billion.
The lawmakers have also questioned the relevance of the increment given the pay gap in the civil service whereas some people earn D1300 as their salary.
While D50% increase would mean D3000 increment for a director who is on a D6000 salary, for a civil servant who is on D1300, it only represent an increase of D650.
Sunkary Badgie, the member for Foni Brefet, said the Government’s salary increment should focus more on grades 1 to 6.
Meanwhile, several lawmakers have also queried the increased allocation for travels of public officials in the budget.
“There is an increase on travel… So what is the justification? We thought that you are going to scale down on travels because there are areas that need those resources,” said Sillah.
The estimates contain an increase in rates and rents for Government by about 8.4%.
There is a portion of the estimates call the “centralized services” with an allocation of D1.3 billion but there is not clarity as to the term means.
“We need to be told what this centralised services is,” said Sillah.
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